Advantages Fun, can make your own items, fairly inexpensive, not knitting
Disadvantages Can be expensive depending on your pattern, is easier to learn from someone showing you
Just for the record… I can't knit. Forget knit one, pearl one. Try knit one, drop 3, pick up 6.5 and a knot. It has got to the point where my Grandmother literally freaks out if I even contemplate picking up a pair of knitting needles. I often find myself making a beeline to her current project just to see the horrified expression on her face. I asked Mum again to teach me to knit the other day. You know, some quality mother-daughter time spent sharing skills and life experiences. Or not. She got scared and went out. In short, my failed attempts at knitting have become a bit of a family joke.I tell you this, as it was in desperation a few years ago, that lead my Mum to first introduce me to crochet. I seem to remember it being in the school holidays, so must have been quite a few years ago now, and she managed to successfully pull me out of my state of failure at the whole knitting thing, and lead me onto more fruitful ground. Yes, dear friends, I can indeed crochet.
For those of you who don't know, crochet is a (mostly) surprisingly simple craft that is a lot like knitting - except you normally only use one needle. And it's not a needle, it's a hook. Crochet works on the principle of one loop being pulled through another, and most stitches are formed like this. The stitches themselves are simple enough, it's how they are arranged that creates the effect. I won't sit here typing away, waffling on about describing how to actually crochet as there's no point! It's a very visual craft so go find someone who can do it and ask them to show you! Alternatively, if a clever crochet person is not readily available, there is a free photocopied sheet that you can get from the Co-op wool department if you smile sweetly and ask very nicely.As with most absolute beginners, I started out with the Granny Square. Now everybody knows that when you first start knitting, you make a scarf. Either for yourself or your teddy bear. It's a done deal. It's expected of you. Not so with crochet. Ha, we get a far more interesting blanket to make, so ner!
Crochet is renowned for its versatile nature, and I have found patterns for everything from baby clothes and hats, to bags, rugs, wall hangings and more.My second project was spawned from a little craze known as finger knitting. Hmm. I sort of accidentally created this 'craze' at my primary school after learning it off someone from outside of school. (Blimey - I must have been young then. This must be a good ten or twelve years ago at least). For those of you familiar with crochet, 'finger knitting' basically comprised of making a chain like you would with a hook for the foundation row, except using your fingers. I had the entire school doing it, and I'm not kidding either. Dear me, those poor teachers must have cursed me! Mind you, it kept us quiet I suppose! It just goes to illustrate the variety of materials that can be used when crocheting - the wool was so thick, but I managed to crochet it into a blanket that I'm sitting under at this very minute.
As with knitting, the size of the hook varies with the material used. Really, really huge hooks can be used to crochet fabric rags into various objects, and teeny tiny hooks are generally reserved for lace and delicate items.It's really surprising how warm crochet can be. You wouldn't think it would be because of all those holes, but I reckon they help trap the warm air, and they are incredibly snug and cosy. I made myself a scarf a few years ago, and still wear it everyday in the winter. I swear I have never had a warmer scarf.
Considering I have only had one book to look at over these last ten or so years, it is no surprise when I tell you that I've pretty much stuck to making scarves!! The book I speak of was published in 1972, and has '77 super patterns' - most of which I wouldn't prod with a bargepole, let alone make. I am rather fond of the particularly stylish men's buttoned cardigan, complete with two pockets. Not to mention the 'midi dress with bell sleeves'. Way hey! Hmm. Or not. I actually bought a new book only yesterday, published post-Jurassic period, (sorry, mean but I couldn't resist!) it has patterns that I can actually use, including a detailed step-by-step stitch guide which is really handy for beginners. The book is called 'Learn To Crochet' and is by Sue Whiting, published by Connaught, ISBN 84517 072 5. Definitely worth a look if you can find it. I got it from Banana Book Shop for only £3.99.One of the most common images that springs to mind when mentioning crochet is lace. Creating beautiful lace designs is a very delicate form of crochet, and it is remarkable how simple these designs can me to make. I have to admit to never trying any though. I plan to make one for a relative's Christmas present (planning ahead!!), but we must bear in mind that the cotton that is used rather than the wool, can be expensive.
Patterns generally use abbreviations, most of which I belive are standard throughout the craft. A few of the most common are listed below;dc double crochet
It can seem daunting when you are first faced with a page full of seemingly endless abbreviated jargon, but armed with a pencil to mark your place, it weirdly can become like a second language with enough practice.Well that's about it for me. There really isn't too much more I can tell you. I haven't written this to specifically persuade you to give it a go, I just want to dispel any myths that associates this handy little craft with grannies only. Knitting may be the big thing with the supermodels and stars, but remember that crochet has provided a huge influence on the actual designers.
Well cheers for reading, please feel free to ask any questions!!K xxx
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